Trying a Turtle Shape
If you want a bit more challenging pillow/toy, try making one with a turtle shape. It uses the same pillow-making skills you've already learned, plus a little imagination.
Making the Pieces
Begin by cutting out three circles the size you want for the turtle's shell. These will be the top, the backing for the quilted top, and the bottom of the pillow.
Design a leg pattern that is appropriate for the size of your shell. Something with a bend, a little like a sock, will be more authentic than straight pieces. See FIGURE 8-5 for one example. Cut four pairs of these pieces, keeping the need for right and left, bottom and top in mind. Design a head pattern that tapers in at the neck, and cut two of these.
Pair the legs up and stitch around them, leaving the end next to the body open. Clip, turn, press, and stuff. Sew the open end closed at the seam line. Do the same with the head, but don't stitch it closed yet. Set it aside.
Mark a turtle-shell pattern on the top piece. Layer it on top of the batting and backing, right sides to the outside. Sew the layers together near the edge and machine quilt along the marked lines. Use contrasting thread so it shows up.
Create a turtle pillow and test your new skills.
Putting Them Together
With your shell piece right side up, try out several positions for the head and the legs. Mark the head position with pins that extend beyond the raw edge, allowing a little extra space. Flip the legs over onto the top and pin them down, lining up the stitching lines of the legs and the shell. Sew the legs in place.
Cover the shell with the bottom piece, right sides together, and stitch around the circle, leaving the area open that you marked for the head. Clip the edges, turn, press, and stuff.
Position the neck of the head piece through the hole, and blind-stitch the shell and bottom piece to it. This gives you an opportunity to tip the head slightly upward. Embroider on some eyes, and he's done.